Tag Archives: refugees

New Article: Kenya’s harsh new security laws put hundreds of thousands of refugees at risk

Kenya’s harsh new security laws put hundreds of thousands of refugees at risk

By Neil James Wilson, Visiting Lecturer, Department of International Politics at City University London

Image Copyright: The Conversation website at: https://theconversation.com/

Kenya has passed a controversial amendment to the country’s existing security laws, days after heated debates led to brawling on the floor of the Kenyan Parliament. Despite the fracas, the bill was passed with only minor changes, to the dismay of observers at home and abroad.

Domestic and international attention has mainly focused on the impact the bill would have on the period of detention without charge, the tapping of communications without court consent, the erosion of media freedom and the limitations placed upon the right to protest. But the world has paid less attention to the severe implications the new amendments have for refugees in Africa’s second-largest refugee-hosting country.

For Kenya’s half a million refugees, many of whom have escaped diabolical threats across the Somali border, this is very bad news indeed.

Round them up

The Security Laws (Amendment) Act 2014 changes Kenya’s 2006 Refugee Act in two vital ways: it seeks to limit the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the country to 150,000, and it further enforces an encampment policy, limiting refugees to the country’s two sprawling, remote camps in Dadaab and Kakuma.

The United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that over the next year the current number of 500,000 refugees in Kenya is will rise. With continuing conflict in Somalia and South Sudan, placing strict limits on the number of people who can access state protection will endanger lives.

A strict encampment policy also bucks a recent trend of moving away from refugee camps as a means of addressing refugee situations. In July 2014 UNHCR released a new policy that embraced alternatives to camps, with the aim of helping refugees “exercise rights and freedoms, make meaningful choices regarding their lives and have the possibility to live greater dignity, independence and normality as members of communities.”

Read the full article on The Conversation website at:  https://theconversation.com/kenyas-harsh-new-security-laws-put-hundreds-of-thousands-of-refugees-at-risk-35789


19th century immigrants’ records released online | The National Archives

The records of thousands of 19th century immigrants to Britain are

now available to search and download online. The collection, which covers the period 1801 to 1871, includes records relating to more than 7,000 people who applied to become British citizens under the 1844 Naturalisation Act, as well as a small number of papers relating to denization, a form of British citizenship that conferred some but not all the rights of a British subject.

Applicants were required under the act to present a memorial to the Secretary of State at the Home Office stating their age, trade and duration of residence. These papers are now available online for the first time.

They include a rich mix of individuals from across the world, including a large number of immigrants from French and German states, as well as Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Russia, Poland, Sweden and the Italian states.

The majority settled in London, establishing immigrant communities, such as ‘Little Italy’ in Clerkenwell, which still exist today. Many Italian immigrants were ice cream makers, plasterers, confectioners, restaurateurs, and shop keepers, while many German immigrants settled in the East End of London working in the sugar refineries and in the meat and baking trades.

The upheaval caused by the European revolutions of 1848 caused an upsurge in political exiles, while the Great Exhibition at Hyde Park in London in 1851 attracted pioneers of industry from across Europe as the country embarked on the industrial revolution.

You can read more about the series on The National Archives’ blog and search the records in Discovery, our catalogue.

Full article via 19th century immigrants’ records released online | The National Archives.


New Thematic Publications on Human Trafficking & Refugees

Details of these new publications were originally circulated by Elisa Mason on the incredibly useful: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog.  Further details can be found on the website at:  http://fm-cab.blogspot.co.uk/

New Publications on Human Trafficking & Refugees

“Abuse and Trafficking among Female Migrants and Refugees,” Chapter in Violence against Women and Mental Health. Key Issues in Mental Health, vol. 178 (Karger, 2013) [abstract]

*Human Trafficking: Should be a Recognized Ground for Asylum (Birdsong’s Law Blog, March 2013) [text]

“Human Trafficking: The Case of Burmese Refugees in Thailand,” International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, Latest Articles, 31 Jan. 2013 [abstract]

The Limits of Refugee Law: Human Trafficking and Challenges to the International Protection Regime, London, 21 Feb. 2013 [info] [video]

Reflections on Thailand (2): Linking Statelessness and Trafficking in Persons (Statelessness Programme Blog, March 2013) [text]

*Refugees and the Rashaida: Human Smuggling and Trafficking from Eritrea to Sudan and Egypt, New Issues in Refugee Research, no. 254 (UNHCR, March 2013) [text]

Report by Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Following her Visit to Ireland from 30 January to 02 February 2012, Doc. No.  SEC.GAL/246/12 (OSCE, Feb. 2013) [text]
– See also related press release, which notes that the report found “that up to 60% of trafficking victims are being denied full entitlements and benefits as they are treated solely as asylum seekers… .”

“Ruthless Kidnapping Rings Reach from Desert Sands to U.S. Cities,” Wall Street Journal, 1 March 2013 [text]
– Above graphic accompanies article.

“Trafficking Risks for Refugees,” Societies Without Borders, vol. 7, no. 1 (2012) [full-text]
– See also earlier conference paper version.



Call for Papers: Gender, the Refugee and Displacement Conference

Gender, the Refugee and Displacement (1900-1950)

Newcastle University, Friday 5th July 2013


Professor Peter Gatrell (Manchester University)

Call For Papers: This interdisciplinary one-day symposium will interrogate the links between gender and displacement from the turn of the twentieth century, through both World Wars and into the post-war period. Addressing a crucial gap in scholarship surrounding displacement and gender within the critical canon of war studies, it asks how gender influences or impacts displacement during the two world wars and how, in particular, men and women experience and represent displacement differently?  It interrogates the historic association of the refugee with the female, existing outside the symbolic order and beyond the nation, particularly at times of war (Plain, 1994). It addresses the embodied experience of displacement, such as the tendency for refugees and Internally Displaced People to experience rape, torture and physical violence as well as other forms of emotional or physical hardship, as well as the representation of displacement in literary, biographical and historical works with relation to ideas around gender and empowerment during this period. In particular, this conference brings together academics working across the disciplines, looking at the intersections between gender and displacement in a range of discourses legal and historical, literary and political, artistic and geographical in and around the two world wars. It welcomes abstracts from across the humanities and social sciences.

Papers are invited on any aspect of gender and displacement during this period, including but not exclusive to:

  • Male/female experiences of displacement;
  • Male/female descriptions or representations of displacement;
  • Childhood and displacement;
  • The politics of displacement/ power and displacement;
  • The experiences of IDPs and refugees;
  • Race and displacement;
  • Histories/geographies of displacement;
  • Theories of displacement;
  • The UN Convention on Refugees and the legal aspects of displacement.

Please send 300 word abstracts to Katherine Cooper (Katherine.cooper@ncl.ac.uk) before 1st May 2013.

This conference is supported by a generous grant from Newcastle University’s Gender Research Group.

Organised by: Katherine Cooper

Katherine Cooper
PhD Candidate

School of English Language, Literature and Linguistics,
Newcastle University

Gender, The Refugee and Displacement, 1900-1950 Conference
5th July 2013, Newcastle University

Out now: The Female Figure in Contemporary Historical Fiction:


News: Bangladesh’s climate refugees: ‘it’s a question of life’ – audio slideshow

Disappearing world … a project for climate refugees near Cox’s Bazar, as people have been forced from islands such as Kutubdia in the Bay of Bengal. Photograph: Salman Saeed. The Guardian Online – Sea change: the Bay of Bengal’s vanishing islands.

The Guardian Online has recently published an interesting audio slideshow detailing the impact of climate change on refugees and Bangladesh.  The article is entitled, `Bangladesh’s climate refugees: ‘it’s a question of life’ – audio slideshow’ and the introduction to the article states:

Many Bangladeshis have relocated from the vanishing island of Kutubdia in the Bay of Bengal to Cox’s Bazaar. But they are being asked to move once again as sea levels rise and people’s livelihoods are put at risk by climate change. John Vidal interviews Kutubdia island administrator Firoza Ahmed, who defends the government’s attempts to protect people but recognises that food production is being hampered, and Aminul Hashim, who has been displaced and says: ‘I have lost all of my land, my house. It’s very hard here’

The full link to the audio slideshow is here:  www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/interactive/2013/jan/29/bangladesh-climate-refugees-audio-slideshow

The Guardian Online has published a number of related articles which are detailed below:

The Guardian Online – Bangladesh’s climate refugees: ‘it’s a question of life’ – audio slideshow

The Guardian Online – Sea change: the Bay of Bengal’s vanishing islands

The Guardian Online – Bangladesh: after the floods comes the hunger – in pictures

The Guardian Online – Bangladesh’s once welcome floods are now harbingers of disaster

The Guardian Online – Bangladesh farmers caught in vicious cycle of flood and debt

The Guardian Online – The threat posed by climate change in Bangladesh – in pictures

The Guardian Online – ‘We have seen the enemy’: Bangladesh’s war against climate change


New Publications on Health; Refugees in Scotland; Migration Policy; Human Trafficking and Asylum Legal Aid

Publications on Health

“Translating Healthcare: Stories from refugees, providers, and friends.”
By Miriam Mara, Kevin Brooks.

Drawing on interviews and participatory observation, this article weaves stories of translating healthcare told from the perspectives of refugees, health care providers, and friends. The research finds that while literal translations of documents and information are important to the health care process for refugees of New Americans, cultural translations of concepts like health care and preventive care are perhaps even more important. That translation, however, is not simple or literal either; refugees and New Americans may resist, or remain suspicious of, these concepts even once understood. Friends of refugees can provide an important role in helping with cultural and institutional translations, and their role should be consider as part of a culturally-centered approach to healthcare, as outlined by Dutta (2008). Note: all participant and researcher names have been changed in order to protect human subjects.

“The introduction of the voice of the subaltern participant in the discursive space elucidates the interaction between structure and agency” (Dutta, 2008 p. 248).

(Source: Kevin Brooks).

Cultural Traditions and the Reproductive Health of Somali Women: Comprehensive Research Report
By Nancy Deyo.
[Access Full Report]
See Also – “Minnesota Somalis lack culturally competent reproductive health care” .
(Source: Kevin Brooks)

Publications form the Minority Ethnic Matters Overview (MEMO) Newsletter.

MEMO is produced by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities in partnership with BEMIS – empowering Scotland’s ethnic and cultural minority communities. It provides an overview of information of interest to minority ethnic communities in Scotland, including parliamentary activity at Holyrood and Westminster, new publications, consultations, forthcoming conferences and news reports.

Publications from Memo 336

Improving the Lives of Refugees in Scotland after the Referendum: An Appraisal of the Options
By the Scottish Refugee Council
[Download Full Report]

Fair and democratic migration policy: A principled framework for the UK
By the IPPR.
[Download Full Report]

Beyond borders: Human trafficking from Nigeria to the UK
By the IPPR.
[Download Full Report]

Publications from Memo 332

Justice At Risk: Quality and Value for Money in Asylum Legal Aid
By the Runnymede Trust
[Download Full Report]



Event: Life in Burma and Life as a Refugee

Life in Burma and Life as a Refugee

Mr Ian Werrett (Formerly of the Chow Kit Foundation (Assistant Centre Manager / Outreach Worker) and UNICEF (Researcher). Currently writing for ‘LLB Online’ and ‘Interact UK’)

Date: 21 November 2012Time: 3:15 PM
Finishes: 21 November 2012Time: 5:00 PM
Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: 403
Type of Event: Seminar
Series: CSEAS Seminar Programme

CSEAS Special Student Event


This seminar will tell the story of those who lived in and fled Burma. Ian will recount personal stories shared with him by those who had been subject to sever oppression by both the military regime in Burma and human traffickers. Personal cases and pictures will be shared to offer an insight into the life of a refugee.

Feel free to raise any topics for discussion:

  • What do those who have fled Burma really think of Aung San Suu Kyi?
  • What is life like for someone who is living illegally in Malaysia?
  • How do refugees cross the borders?
  • How do children view genocide?
  • Is the UN doing enough?
Speaker Biography

Ian began working with Burmese refugees in 2009, conducting outreach to four different refugee communities.  Ian was detailing their needs and providing educational materials, health care and legal assistance. After one year of gathering information Ian was hired by the United Nations to submit research on the plight of refugee children living in Kuala Lumpur. Ian has provided information to Burma Campaign UK and the Malaysian Government.

In 2012, after 3 years in Kuala Lumpur he has returned to the UK to raise awareness about the situation for children living in Burma and those living as refugees in Malaysia.

Organiser: Centres & Programmes Office
Contact email: centres@soas.ac.uk